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New Jersey prospects watch UofL - UM game together

A handful of New Jersey's top football prospects, including Brian Cushing, Darius Mann and Corey Wooten, gathered together on Thursday evening to watch the Cardinals contest at Miami. ITV spoke with Mann and Wooten about the game on Monday evening. <p> <a href=""><B>Visit the Premium Forum for an additional update on Darius Mann</b></a>

Since the commitment of Darius Mann of Don Bosco Prep during the spring it has become clear that Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino and his staff were determined to make recruiting New Jersey a high priority.

Since Mann's commitment, names such as Brian Cushing, Corey Wooten, Nate Nurse, Brian Roche, Jerome Hayes and other prep standouts from the Garden State have surfaced as high recruiting targets for the Cardinal staff.

With the exception of Nurse, who has committed to Wisconsin and Roche, a current Rutgers commit, the others currently list Louisville among their favorites. While Nurse appears solid with his commitment to Wisconsin, there have been signs recently that Roche, rated as the 36th best offensive line prospect in the nation by, is still considering both Louisville and Miami.

Last Thursday evening, Mann, Cushing, Roche, Wooten and a couple underclassmen, decided to watch the Cardinals game against the Miami Hurricanes together.

Inside the Ville spoke with two that were in attendance in Darius Mann and Corey Wooten, who are teammates at Don Bosco Prep.

"It was great," Wooten, a 6-foot-6, 240-pound tight end/defensive end, said of the gathering. "It was really cool to watch the game with all those guys."

The play of the Cardinals didn't come as a surprise to any of those watching, including Louisville commit Darius Mann.

"That game was crazy," Mann said. "I thought Louisville had it after the first half. I'm disappointed that they didn't get the win, but I'm real proud of how hard they played."

Both Wooten and Mann also told that everyone was cheering for the Cardinals throughout the game, but they weren't surprised by U of L's ability to take Miami into the final minutes of the game.

"It was a heck of a game," continued Wooten. "It was what I expected. Louisville's a top program and I knew they'd play Miami tough, if not beat them."

Mann, who projects as a safety, but also has the ability to play at running back, kept his eye on the Cardinals defensive play most of the night.

"The defense played really strong, but you could see them getting tired," Mann said. "Kerry Rhodes showed up really strong and William Gay played good...he stuck his face in there and got after it."

Wooten, who could find himself playing along either side of the line in college, was also impressed with the play of the Cardinal defense.

"They played real good," Wooten said. "They ran to the football and put pressure on the quarterback."

While Mann was envisioning himself on the field as a Cardinal, Wooten, who recently added an offer from Connecticut to go along with previous ones extended from Louisville, Rutgers and Indiana, was ready to name a lead team among his favorites following the game.

"Louisville and UConn are my favorites right now, but Louisville is my top school though."

Wooten also informed ITV that he'll be joining Mann and Brian Cushing in mid-December for an official visit.

"I'm going to come down there on December 17th," said Wooten, who has no other official visits currently set. "I want to see what it's like there before I make a decision."

Wooten also claims that Mann's commitment to Louisville will be a factor in his future decision. "It definately will. It'll be a real big factor because we are close friends."

For Mann though, the recruiting process just won't go away. Since his 18 tackles, 2 sack performance in his teams season opener, the 6-foot, 185-pound Mann has had numerous programs attempt to talk or visit with him.

"It's like recruiting 101 all over again," explained Mann, who has changed his phone number twice in attempt to reduce the number of phone calls from coaches. "I don't like it. I just want them to leave me alone."

Unfortunately it's unlikely that neither Mann nor Wooten will see a decline in interest from other programs until National Signing Day. However, the continued strong play of the 15th-ranked Cardinals will make it harder for opposing coaches to extend better opportunities than what exist at Louisville.

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